"Chicano writers from El Paso are the most progressive, open-minded, far-reaching, and inclusive writers of them all."

Octavio Romano

Monday, November 29, 2010

Lunes con Lalo Delgado: The Chicano Movement - Some Not Too Objective Observations - The Movement Scope

Above left, Abelardo B. Delgado
 The Chicano Movement: Some Not Too Objective Observations

The Movement Scope


by Abelardo "Lalo" B. Delgado

When we speak of the scope of the movement, it is an attempt to, in this chapter, attach some measurement in terms of quality and quantity of participation by Chicanos (also, what is directly and indirectly contributing to its growth, as well as impeding its development).

The question of quality as apostolic zeal is the most essential one here, rather than the question of numbers. We could claim one tenth of the Chicano population as being involved in the movement and that would be true and impressive, but I'm more concerned with the seriousness of a couple of dozen individuals whom I have personally met.

The determination of the few individuals is such that it has left me with the impression that we cannot help but succeed with such men and women pushing so hard. It almost seems at times that we are seeing Christianity itself at its embryo stages to hear these individuals speak of carnalismo and self-determination.

Perhaps, attached to the quality in the movement, is the spiritualism itself that is self-multiplying and indestructible. Those of us close to the movement, measure quality in terms of lives which are dedicated to: (1) destroying the attitudes and prejudices that strangle our own bland progress, and (2) those who build community tunnels by which to escape the economic and political control on which those attitudes and prejudices are built.

One measure scope by the limits reached, and we have made remarkable advances in practically all fields.

Those advances of most consequence are those made in fields which called attention to the deplorable status of thousands of migrants. Here, we cannot help but admire and praise the efforts of Cesar Chavez, Dolores Huerta, Tony Orendain and the hundreds of other huelguistas and organizers. This is one piece of work not attempted by the best “gavacho” unionista and considered practically impossible. This has been one task tried a dozen times before, only to encounter failure.

The grape and the black thunderbird in the red flag gave this nation an identification of what determined and united Chicanos can do. Whatever progress was made in the fields on behalf of farmworkers, was made under the most adverse and harsh conditions possible which best shows the national victory enjoyed by unionized farmworkers. Chavez well knows that he could not have won his struggle without nationwide Chicano support to the point that many Chicano children are unfamiliar with grapes.

Chicanos have proven they can muster some economic control in this nation, and armed with a just and valid cause, and refraining from violent confrontations, and relying heavily on passive resistance and a devil-like persistence, can meet any goal they set. Many movement people charge that Chavez may be one hell of an organizer, but not a leader in the Chicano Movement in that he fails to embrace many other areas of concern affecting millions of other deprived Chicanos.

Whether the charge is a valid one or not, the fact remains that we can rally behind our national leaders, and whether movement Chicanos claim Chavez owes them something or whether Chavez himself acknowledges the movement, the fact remains that he is a Chicano whose immense contribution cannot be ignored or belittled.

It is said in jest that the true yardstick of the Chicano Movement is Texas for there, the atmosphere to demand, confront, speak out, and advance is not as permissive as California or Colorado. What, in fact, has happened in places like El Paso – MACHOS, MAYO, MECHA, the question of bad housing, drugs, and out-right poverty – is an indication that the movement is real and growing and here to stay.

Most impressive is the struggle of MAYO in the valleys, in San Antonio and the political victories and challenges of La Raza Unida. In Texas, too, as of this writing, a completely Chicano-run college is being initiated. I can honestly say that it may be a jest to many, but to Chicanos in Texas, it is a very serious and deadly struggle.

In Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, evidence of proud challenges to the controlling communities for recognition and full participation are now a way of life with most Chicanos. Utah, Oregon, and Michigan keep in stop also with the movement and even a sort of healthy competition has come about in which one state would brag to another of achievements within the Chicano communities.

You hear of Governor's commissions on Chicano problems in Oregon and thousands of token Chicano position opened simply because of pressure exerted through the movement. Do not get me wrong, I'm not knocking these token position for even those can be turned to work for the movement if used to serve La Raza, who was responsible for getting them; and not our abilities alone.

Look in your own community and measure for yourself the extend of the Chicano contribution, the changes that have come about because of it, housing, jobs, education, police relations, welfare, hospital, attitudes, barrier knocked down and the more labor pains you see and feel, the healthier the birth of better things to come.


Other parts of this series:

Part IV Goals 

from The Chicano Movement: Some Not Too Objective Observations by Abelardo B. Delgado, (Denver: Colorado Migrant Council, 1971), prepared by the Colorado Migrant Council. Published with permission from the Delgado Family. Special thanks for Dolores Delgado. (c) Abelardo Delgado 1971.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

New Books in November: Chicano, Mexican, South American, Cuban, and Latino Titles and Topics


I cannot believe November is almost at an end. We've have many books to tell you about before the month ends, so let's get on our way.

Chican(a) Titles

The Daring Flight of My Pen: Cultural Politics and Gaspar Perez de Villagra's Historia de la Nueva Mexico, 1610
Hardcover University of New Mexico Press (November 1, 2010
ISBN-10: 0826349706
Genaro M. Padilla (Author)

Doomed from the beginning to be read as history rather than poetry, Gaspar Perez de Villagra's Historia de la Nueva Mexico chronicles Captain Juan de Onate's conquest of New Mexico from its inception in 1595 to the battle of Acoma in 1599. Its publication in 1610 was overshadowed by Cervantes's already wildly popular Don Quixote, and fewer than a dozen copies of the original have survived the last four centuries. In April of 1610, the same month that Villagrá's Historia was published in Spain, the once powerful Onate, the last conquistador and one who remains a divisive figure among native groups and Hispanics to this day, rode into Mexico City, humiliated, having been banished from la Nueva Mexico.

In this engaging study Genaro Padilla enters into Villagra's epic poem of the Onate expedition to reveal that the soldier was no mere chronicler but that his writing offers a subtle critique of the empire whose expansion he seems to be celebrating. A close reading of the rhetorical subtleties in the poem, Padilla argues, reveals that Villagra surreptitiously parodies the King and Viceroy for their failures of vision and effectively dismantles Onate as the iconic figure he has become today. Padilla's study is not simply a close reading of this challenging work; it is also a lucid critique of our modern engagement with foundational documents, cultural celebrations, and our awareness of our relationship with New Mexico's complicated multicultural legacies.

Irresistible Forces: Latin American Migration to the United States and its Effects on the South
University of New Mexico Press November 15, 2010 ISBN-10: 0826349188
Gregory B. Weeks and John R. Weeks, authors

The politics, social issues, and cultural impacts of Latin American migration to the United States are often studied by historians and political scientists, but the regional focus is typically on the Southwest and California. This study examines the phenomenon of the impact of Latin American migration on the southeastern United States, a region that now has the nation's fastest growing immigrant population.

Incorporating a political demography approach, this study seeks to provide a clear understanding of the complex dynamics of migration with particular emphasis on the unique demographic fit between the United States and Latin America. 

This fit arises from one region needing young workers while the other has more than its economy can absorb. Although a relatively simple concept, it is one that has largely been ignored in the political discussions of migration policy. This study argues that the social and political ramifications of and policy responses to Latin American immigration can best be understood when viewed in light of these circumstances. 

La Calle: Spatial Conflicts and Urban Renewal in a Southwest City
Paperback University of Arizona Press October 6, 2010 ISBN-10: 0816528888
Lydia R. Otero

On March 1, 1966, the voters of Tucson approved the Pueblo Center Redevelopment Project--Arizona's first major urban renewal project--which targeted the most densely populated eighty acres in the state. For close to one hundred years, tucsonenses had created their own spatial reality in the historical, predominantly Mexican American heart of the city, an area most called "la calle." 

Here, amid small retail and service shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, they openly lived and celebrated their culture. To make way for the Pueblo Center's new buildings, city officials proceeded to displace la calle's residents and to demolish their ethnically diverse neighborhoods, which, contends Lydia Otero, challenged the spatial and cultural assumptions of postwar modernity, suburbia, and urban planning.

Otero examines conflicting claims to urban space, place, and history as advanced by two opposing historic preservationist groups: the La Placita Committee and the Tucson Heritage Foundation. She gives voice to those who lived in, experienced, or remembered this contested area, and analyzes the historical narratives promoted by Anglo American elites in the service of tourism and cultural dominance.

La Calle explores the forces behind the mass displacement: an unrelenting desire for order, a local economy increasingly dependent on tourism, and the pivotal power of federal housing policies. To understand how urban renewal resulted in the spatial reconfiguration of downtown Tucson, Otero draws on scholarship from a wide range of disciplines: Chicana/o, ethnic, and cultural studies; urban history, sociology, and anthropology; city planning; and cultural and feminist geography. 

Good Bandits, Warrior Women, and Revolutionaries in Hispanic Culture 
Paperback Bilingual Press/Editorial Biling-Ue November 2010
ISBN-10: 1931010714
Gary Francisco Keller (Editor)

Description is unavailable and this book may still be forthcoming.

Second Communion 
Bilingual Review Press 
ISBN 978-1-931010-56-6 
May 2010
Nash Candelaria

Note: Bilingual Review Press website says that the paper back edition of this book will be out this month, so we are running this book description again.
This memoir by renowned Chicano writer Nash Candelaria focuses on how and why he chose to become a writer. As he investigates his family's more than 300-year history in New Mexico, the author undertakes a more intimate journey that leads him to understand truths about himself: why he chose to become a writer and why he chose the topics he did. Part family history and part selfexamination, Second Communion is a must-read for aspiring writers, those interested in Southwest history, and students and teachers of Chicano literature.

Mexican Topics
Mexico's Indigenous Communities: Their Lands and Histories, 1500-2010
(Mesoamerican Worlds: from the Olmecs to the Danzantes Series)
Hardcover University Press of Colorado November 15, 2010
ISBN-10: 1607320169
Ethelia Ruiz Medrano 

A rich and detailed account of indigenous history in central and southern Mexico from the sixteenth to the twenty-first centuries, "Mexico's Indigenous Communities" is an expansive work that destroys the notion that Indians were victims of forces beyond their control and today have little connection with their ancient past. Indian communities continue to remember and tell their own local histories, recovering and rewriting versions of their past in light of their lived present.

Ethelia Ruiz Medrano focuses on a series of individual cases, falling within successive historical epochs, that illustrates how the practice of drawing up and preserving historical documents - in particular, maps, oral accounts, and painted manuscripts - has been a determining factor in the history of Mexico's Indian communities for a variety of purposes, including the significant issue of land and its rightful ownership. Since the sixteenth century, numerous Indian pueblos have presented colonial and national courts with historical evidence that defends their landholdings.

Because of its sweeping scope, groundbreaking research, and the author's intimate knowledge of specific communities, "Mexico's Indigenous Communities" is a unique and exceptional contribution to Mexican history. It will appeal to students and specialists of history, indigenous studies, ethnohistory, and anthropology of Latin America and Mexico.

Mesoamerica Topics
The Jaguar and the Priest: An Ethnography of Tzeltal Souls
(Linda Schele Series in Maya and Pre-Columbian Studies)
Hardcover University of Texas Press November 1, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0292723318
Pedro Pitarch (Author), Roy Wagner (Foreword)

In contrast to western notions of the soul as the essence or most native part of a human being, the Tzeltal-speaking Indians of Chiapas, Mexico, regard the soul first and foremost as an Other. Made up of beings that personify the antithesis of their native selves--animals such as hummingbirds or jaguars, atmospheric phenomena like lightning bolts or rainbows, or spirits of European appearance such as Catholic priests or evangelical musicians – Tzeltal souls represent the maximum expression of that which is alien. And because their souls enfold that which is outside and Other, the Tzeltal contain within themselves the history of their relationship with Europeans from the beginning of the Spanish conquest to the present time. 

Thus, to understand the Indian self opens a window into the Tzeltal conception of culture and community, their notions of identity and "alterity," and their interpretation of inter-ethnic relations and types of historical memory.

In this path finding ethnography, which was originally published in Spanish in 1996 as Ch'ulel: una etnografía de las almas tzeltales and is now extensively rewritten and amplified in English, Pedro Pitarch offers a new understanding of indigenous concepts of the soul, "personhood," and historical memory in highland Chiapas. Exploring numerous aspects of indigenous culture and history -- medicine and shamanism, geography and cosmology, and politics and kinship among them -- he engages in a radical rethinking of classic issues in Mesoamerican anthropology, such as ethnicity and "alterity," community and tradition, and change and permanence.

South American Titles

Paulo Freire and the Cold War Politics of Literacy
Hardcover The University of North Carolina Press September 16, 2010
ISBN-10: 080783419X 
Andrew J. Kirkendall 

In the twentieth century, illiteracy and its elimination were political issues important enough to figure in the fall of governments (as in Brazil in 1964), the building of nations (in newly independent African countries in the 1970s), and the construction of a revolutionary order (Nicaragua in 1980). This political biography of Paulo Freire (1921-97), who played a crucial role in shaping international literacy education, also presents a thoughtful examination of the volatile politics of literacy during the Cold War.

A native of Brazil's impoverished northeast, Freire developed adult literacy training techniques that involved consciousness-raising, encouraging peasants and newly urban peoples to see themselves as active citizens who could transform their own lives. Freire's work for state and national government agencies in Brazil in the early 1960s eventually aroused the suspicion of the Brazilian military, as well as of U.S. government aid programs. Political pressures led to Freire's brief imprisonment, following the military coup of 1964, and then to more than a decade and a half in exile. During this period, Freire continued his work in Chile, Nicaragua, and postindependence African countries, as well as in Geneva with the World Council of Churches and in the United States at Harvard University.

Andrew J. Kirkendall's evenhanded appraisal of Freire's pioneering life and work, which remains influential today, gives new perspectives on the history of the Cold War, the meanings of radicalism, and the evolution of the Left in Latin America.

The Argentine Folklore Movement: Sugar Elites, Criollo Workers, and the Politics of Cultural Nationalism, 1900-1950
Hardcover University of Arizona Press August 31, 2010
ISBN-10: 0816528470
Oscar Chamosa

Oscar Chamosa (Author) brings forth the compelling story of an important but often overlooked component of the formation of popular nationalism in Latin America: the development of the Argentine folklore movement in the first part of the twentieth century. This movement involved academicians studying the culture of small farmers and herders of mixed indigenous and Spanish descent in the distant valleys of the Argentine northwest, as well as artists and musicians who took on the role of reinterpreting these local cultures for urban audiences of mostly European descent.

Oscar Chamosa combines intellectual history with ethnographic and sociocultural analysis to reconstruct the process by which mestizo culture -- in Argentina called criollo culture--came to occupy the center of national folklore in a country that portrayed itself as the only white nation in South America. The author finds that the conservative plantation owners -- the "sugar elites"--who exploited the criollo peasants sponsored the folklore movement that romanticized them as the archetypes of nationhood. 

Ironically, many of the composers and folk singers who participated in the landowner-sponsored movement adhered to revolutionary and reformist ideologies and denounced the exploitation to which those criollo peasants were subjected. Chamosa argues that, rather than debilitating the movement, these opposing and contradictory ideologies permitted its triumph and explain, in part, the enduring romanticizing of rural life and criollo culture, essential components of Argentine nationalism.

The book not only reveals the political motivations of culture in Argentina and Latin America but also has implications for understanding the articulation of local culture with national politics and entertainment markets that characterizes contemporary cultural processes worldwide today.

Cuban Titles

Enrique Martinez Celaya: Collected Writings and Interviews, 1990-2010
Paperback University of Nebraska Press November 1, 2010
ISBN-10: 0803234740
Enrique Martinez Celaya (Author), Klaus Ottmann (Introduction)

This collection, spanning two decades of artistic activity, features selections of writings tracing the intellectual influences and development of one of the more formidable and productive minds in the contemporary art world. The writings of Enrique Martínez Celaya comprise public lectures; essays; interviews; correspondence with artists, critics, and scholars; artist statements; blog posts; and journal entries.

This selection of writings includes the six public lectures Martínez Celaya delivered during his three-year appointment as the second Visiting Presidential Professor at the University of Nebraska. Marked by an encyclopedic curiosity and considerable knowledge about the world, these lectures explore the nature of photography and painting, the role of the artist as prophet, the relationship of art to the university and the museum, as well as reflections on his own work.

Enrique Martínez Celaya: Collected Writings and Interviews, 1990–2010 features seventy-nine photographs from Martínez Celaya’s collection; an introduction by Klaus Ottmann, who teaches art history at the School of Visual Arts in New York and is the Robert Lehman Curator for The Parrish Art Museum in Southampton, New York; and a foreword by James B. Milliken, president of the University of Nebraska.

Born in Cuba in 1964, Enrique Martínez Celaya is the founder of Whale & Star in Miami, Florida. He was Visiting Presidential Professor at the University of Nebraska from 2007 to 2010 and is the author of numerous books, including Martínez Celaya: Early Work, Nomad, and The Blog: Bad Time for Poetry.

One Hundred Bottles
Paperback University of Texas Press November 15, 2010
ISBN-10: 0292723326
Ena Lucía Portela (Author), Achy Obejas (Translator)

One Hundred Bottles, with its intersecting characters and unresolved whodunits, can be read as a murder mystery. But it's really a survivor's story. In a voice that blends gossip, storytelling, and literature, Z – the vivacious heroine of Portela's award-winning novel – relates her rum-soaked encounters with the lesbian underground, the characters carving up her home, and the terrifying-but-irresistible Moisés. As entertaining as any detective drama, One Hundred Bottles is ultimately made real by very rough love, intense friendship, and something small that decides to live. 


The School-to-Prison Pipeline: Structuring Legal Reform
Hardcover NYU Press November 15, 2010
ISBN-10: 0814748430
Catherine Kim (Author), Daniel Losen (Author), Damon Hewitt (Author)

The “school-to-prison pipeline” is an emerging trend that pushes large numbers of at-risk youth — particularly children of color — out of classrooms and into the juvenile justice system. The policies and practices that contribute to this trend can be seen as a pipeline with many entry points, from under-resourced K-12 public schools, to the over-use of zero-tolerance suspensions and expulsions and to the explosion of policing and arrests in public schools. The confluence of these practices threatens to prepare an entire generation of children for a future of incarceration.

In this comprehensive study of the relationship between American law and the school-to-prison pipeline, co-authors Catherine Y. Kim, Daniel J. Losen, and Damon T. Hewitt — all civil rights attorneys specializing in juvenile justice — analyze the current state of the law for each entry point on the pipeline and propose legal theories and remedies to challenge them. 

Using specific state-based examples and case studies, the authors assert that law can be an effective weapon in the struggle to reduce the number of children caught in the pipeline, address the devastating consequences of the pipeline on families and communities, and ensure that our public schools and juvenile justice system further the goals for which they were created: to provide meaningful, safe opportunities for all the nation's children.

Dangerous or Endangered?: Race and the Politics of Youth in Urban America
Paperback NYU Press November 17, 2010
ISBN-10: 0814783120
Jennifer Tilton

How do you tell the difference between a “good kid” and a “potential thug”? In Dangerous or Endangered?, Jennifer Tilton considers the ways in which children are increasingly viewed as dangerous and yet, simultaneously, as endangered and in need of protection by the state.
Tilton draws on three years of ethnographic research in Oakland, California, one of the nation's most racially diverse cities, to examine how debates over the nature and needs of young people have fundamentally reshaped politics, transforming ideas of citizenship and the state in contemporary America.

As parents and neighborhood activists have worked to save and discipline young people, they have often inadvertently reinforced privatized models of childhood and urban space, clearing the streets of children, who are encouraged to stay at home or in supervised after-school programs. Youth activists protest these attempts, demanding a right to the city and expanded rights of citizenship. Dangerous or Endangered? pays careful attention to the intricate connections between fears of other people's kids and fears for our own kids in order to explore the complex racial, class, and gender divides in contemporary American cities. 

The Oxford Handbook of Slavery in the Americas
(Oxford Handbooks) Hardcover
Oxford University Press, USA October 1, 2010
ISBN-10: 0199227993
Robert L. Paquette (Author), Mark M. Smith (Author)

The Oxford Handbook of Slavery in the Americas offers penetrating, original, and authoritative essays on the history and historiography of the institution of slavery in the New World. With essays on colonial and antebellum America, Brazil, the Caribbean, the Indies, and South America, the Handbook has impressive geographic and temporal coverage. It also includes a generous range of thematic essays on comparative slavery, the economics of slavery, historical methodology in the field, slavery and the law, for instance.

While obviously indebted to the foundational works of the 1960s and 1970s, current writing on the history of slavery and forms of unfree labor in the Americas has taken decidedly original, new, often ingenious turns.

A younger generation of scholars has shown a healthy respect for that tradition while posing new, often interdisciplinary, and theoretically informed questions, considering, for example, the nature and definition of slave resistance in the Americas, evolving meanings of gender and race under slavery, the complicated nature of class formation in unfree societies, the elaboration of proslavery and antislavery ideologies, the origins and subsequent elaboration of race-based slavery, and mechanisms of emancipation.

Written by an international team including some of the field's most eminent historians and the most innovative younger scholars working today, The Oxford Handbook of Slavery in the Americas seeks to explain the enduring importance of the earlier historiography, identify current trends and developments, and offer suggestive but informed commentary on future developments in the field for a global scholarly audience.

Latino Titles

Sleep in Me
University of Nebraska Press September 1, 2010
ISBN-10: 0803225350

Against the backdrop of his teenage sister’s car accident — in which a dump truck filled with sand slammed into the small car carrying her and her friends — Jon Pineda chronicles his sister Rica’s sudden transformation from a vibrant high school cheerleader to a girl wheelchair bound and unable to talk. For the next five years of her life, her only ability to communicate was through her rudimentary use of sign language. Lyrical in its approach and unflinching in its honesty, Sleep in Me is a heartrending memoir of the coming-of-age of a boy haunted by a family tragedy.

A prize-winning poet’s account of the irreparable damage and the new understanding that tragedy brings to his Filipino American family, Pineda’s book is a remarkable story maneuvering between childhood memories of his sister cheerleading and moments of monitoring her in a coma and changing her adult diapers. Pineda adeptly navigates between these moments of idyllic youth and heartbreaking sadness. Vivid and lyrical, his story is an exploration of what it means to live deeply with tragedy and of the impact such a story can have on a boy’s journey to manhood.

Jon Pineda teaches in the MFA creative writing program at Queens University of Charlotte and is the author of two books of poetry, The Translator’s Diary and Birthmark.

torch song tango choir
University of Arizona Press (August 16, 2010)
ISBN-10: 0816528640 
Julie Sophia Paegle

These fine poems are connected by--and evoke--the music of lost homelands. Paegle, the daughter of immigrants from Argentina and Latvia, takes us through the tumult of displacement and migration with a strong sense for the folk songs and tango music of her youth. Against this musical backdrop, she invests the bandoneón, an accordion-like instrument brought to Argentina in the late nineteenth century, with a special significance. Her poetic account of the instrument yields this striking tribute, which testifies to the passion of the collection: "when mission music spilled, / five octaves went new-world wild."

The poems in the first section, torch songs, hover near a heartbreaking lyricism as they reckon with political histories, landscapes, and loss. As she writes in this section, there is truly "nothing in this life like being blind in Granada." The sonnet crown that comprises the next section, tango liso, plots a history of cultural inheritance and renewal, weaving back and forth in time and spanning Argentina, Spain, and the United States. Here the reader encounters Eva Peron alongside Katharine of Aragon and Billie Holiday. The final section, choir, commemorates sites of pilgrimage in Latvia, West Germany, and Spain, among other places. In this extended contemplation of cathedral spaces, Paegle interrogates the boundary between the sacred and the secular, silence and song. What emerges from this diverse collection is a sensual and allusive space where music and memory coincide.

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Happy Birthday Lalo Delgado; Metacomet's Head, Massasoit children, and the El Paso Writer Update

Abelardo B. Delgado

(Nov. 27, 1930 - July 23, 2004)
Happy birthday to our Poet Laureate of Aztlan en el mas alla. I was able to sit down with Carlos Morton (see our interview with Morton) and Miguel Juarez among others last night and several friends of Carlos from the reading scene of the late 1960s and early 1970s El Paso joined us. Many of them knew Lalo. They shared memories of reading at the Back Door Lounge. 

One told me a story of when he was working with Lalo in the Juvenile Delinquency Project in South El Paso, that some of the boys decided to play a trick on Lalo and they locked Lalo in the bathroom. 

Unfortunately for the tricksters, they did not get hear Lalo banging on the door, and after an hour of waiting and hearing nothing, they opened the door and found Lalo writing poems on bathroom paper waiting for them to open the door.



What moves you, Chicano,
to stop being polite?

Nice Chicano,
could be petted on the head
and wouldn’t bite,
how dare you till your boss,
---Go fly a kite?---

Es la cuasa,
h e r m a n o.
which had made me a new man.

What is this
c a u s a
which disturbs your steady hand,
could it be an inherited
love of land
or the Indian impudence
called pride that I can’t understand?

This causa, hermano,
is charcoaled abuse
ready to burn.

What nonsense this brown power
that you claim,
what stupid demands
erupt form will untamed,
what of your poetic submissivesness
that brought you fame?

Es la causa, hermando,
which leaves no one untouched.

Deleno awaits the verdict of the nation,
Del Rio and justice
dance in wile anticipation,
El Paso and la causa
will be good for the duration.

by Abelardo Delgado (c) 1969
Buenos, un pie jesu (Faure) for our poet laureate.

Pie Jesu Domine,
dona eis requiem. (repeat 2x)
Kind Lord Jesus,
grant them rest.
Pie Jesu Domine,
dona eis requiem sempiternam.   
Kind Lord Jesus,
grant them everlasting rest.

Metacomet's Head, Metacomet's Children
Killing of King Phillip

As Thanksgiving finally passes, I'm always able to reflect. One of my yearly reflections is media's portrayal of Massasoit

Massasoit was the chief of the Wampanoag Confederacy who befriended the initial "pilgrims.' 

What we don't know is that Massasoit was the father of Metacomet, also known as "King Phillip," (of "King Phillip's War"). All of Massasoit children would not live as long as Massasoit did. 

Massasoit's eldest son Wamsutta (c. 1634–1662), also Alexander Pokanoket, died shortly after being imprisoned in Plymouth colony. Metacomet led the King Phillip's War against the English, in which Metacomet was killed. He corpse was decapitated and his head was on display on a pole in Plymouth for 20 years. His body was quartered and hung in trees. 

Metacomet's wife and children were sold into slavery in Bermuda. The only child  of Massasoit to survive the King Phillip's War was his daughter. 

So when Lalo Alcaraz cartoon of La Cucaracha with the pilgrims sitting with the Native Americans at the Thanksgiving table, the the pilgrim says "Anybody for a little genocide?" is not far from the truth. I remember I gave a copy of that comic to a graduate student in English at UT El Paso and she posted it on her door. The chair of the English Department at the time, Tony Stafford, called her and asked her to remove after a staff member complained, or so he said...Anyway, check out Hellsongs cover of Iron Maiden's "Run to the Hills":

El Paso Writer Update
The 60s with John Rechy

John Rechy is mentioned in an essay titled "Memorial Day" on CNNnews.com. A new book called The Sixties by Christopher Isherwood has some recollections of John Rechy and many other notables. "There is the gay novelist and rent boy John Rechy who, in 1960, dressed ‘exactly like a Pershing Square hustler, shirt open to the navel with sleeves rolled to the armpits, skintight jeans, a Christopher medal. He is rather charming.’" Check out this review. Also, check out Rechy's letter to the editor concerning David Leavitt's review of About My Life and the Kept Woman by Rechy.

Mouthfeel Press Panel

Some photos of a Mouthfeel Press panel posted on Katie Blog. Check it out. Mouthfeel is a local (El Paso) small press.

Carlos Munoz joins line up of Superstars of Race


Carlos Munoz, Jr., professor emeritus at UC Berkeley and author of Identity, Youth, and Power, will take part in the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in American Higher Education Conference in San Francisco, CA,June 2, 2011. I will be among an A-list of participants including Cherri Moraga, Noam Chomsky, Amiri Baraka, Michael Benitez, Jr.,Father Roy Bourgeois , Winona LaDuke , Roberto Lovato , Peggy McIntosh Camilo Mejía , Jesus "Chuy" Negrete , María Ochoa , Michael Reyes , Alice Walker, among many others.

Ortego on curaderismo

Stage version of Anaya's Bless Me, Ultima
 Felipe Ortego participated in a symposium on curanderismo in Silver City, NM. The symposium was designed as a preview to the themes of curanderismo in Rudolfo Anaya's book Bless Me Ultima, which was staged in Silver City on Nov. 19. Ortego spoke about curanderismo's role in Bless Me, Ultima.

Last Prince an Epic

Jenn's Bookshelf ran a review on C.M. Mayo's Last Prince of the Mexican Empire. "The cast of characters is long and complex, permitting the reader to get viewpoints from all sides of the story.It was incredibly interesting to me to get a glimpse of this bit of Mexican history." READ MORE. Jenn's Bookshelf also posts an interview with C.M. Mayo. Furthermore, the author has posted several images of woodcuts by Henry R. Magruder's "Last Year of Mexican Empire." Also see My Recollections of Maximilian by Marie de la Fère:  A handwritten manuscript circa 1910, Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley

See another review of C.M. Mayo's Last Prince of the Mexican Empire at Book Drunkard. "The first word that comes to mind as  I sit down to review this book is ‘epic’." READ MORE.

Mario Garcia Blogs on Social Justice

Check out Mario Garcia's blog on the National Catholic Reporter. His recent posts include New Congress means we have to work harder for social justice and Passing the DREAM act is is an act of compassion.

Lalo Delgado's poem "Dia de Los Muertos" analyzed by kids in Massachusetts

I caught on the web recently that the Glen Urquhart School in Massachusetts used Lalo Delgado's poem "Dia de los Muertos" for its classes. "Eighth grade Spanish students read Delgado’s poem in class and discussed the cultural differences between an American and Mexican outlook on death."  READ MORE.

Luna's Muses on Chihuahuita and Segundo in Poem on Poetry Foundation

Villalva's Grocery in Chihuahuita (El Paso, TX)

Sheryl Luna's poem "River Ghost" was featured on the Poetry Foundation's website:

"Little Chihuahita shadowed beside Segundo barrio.
A dead German sheperd with a broken neck lies
on the side of the street for days. The stench
of El Paso’s sewage in the air, a Mexican flag hugely
flaps itself above the chain-linked fence"

Mucho on Mora

Pat Mora posted some tips for organizers of Dia de Los Ninos activities. See them on her blog at: 15 Día Nuggets: #2 Funders and Partner. Mora's Love to Mama was listed in the 50 Best Poetry Books for Children by bachlorsdegree.org. The Poetry for Children Blog posted a Q&A with Pat Mora, mostly based on children's book in libraries and the classroom. Check it out.

Ricado Sanchez' "Canto"

Ricardo Sanchez (left) (Mark Christal http://www.flickr.com/photos/markchristal/2476753859/in/photostream/)

Denver's Hektor Munoz gives a reading of Ricardo Sanchez' poem "Canto." SEE THE VIDEO.

Paredes on Educational Funding in Texas: Is your job at stake?

There are a host of articles recently on Raymund Paredes and Texas' educational funding. Check out Paredes Proposal to Increase Higher Ed Accountability in the Dallas Morning News. As Paredes pushes for these changes, one Texas legislature is pushing a bill that would kill the Texas Higher Education Board. See Brown Bill Would Kill Higher Ed Coordinating Board.

Paredes will visit Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas on Dec. 8 visit to Beaumont that will include meetings with higher education and K-12 leaders in Southeast Texas. READ MOREAlso see Deeper higher education cuts in store in the DentonRC.com.

Ruben Salazar: Documentary, Accident or Assassination?

A nice article on Ruben Salazar is published in UT El Paso's Borderzine. Check out Journalist Rubén Salazar’s Death — Accident or Assassination? by Frank Sotomayor. The article has some good photos and an interesting comment on the article stating "back them there was conflict between the races."

I caught this documentary called "Ruben Salazar: The Man in the Middle" at Latino Public Broadcasting: "Ruben Salazar, one of the 20th century’s most prominent Mexican-American journalists, was killed in 1970 by an L.A. County Sheriff. At the heart of the film is Salazar’s transformation from a mainstream, middle-of-the-road reporter to a supporter and primary chronicler of the radical Chicano movement. 

The film will also embark on an in-depth investigation of his mysterious death at the hands of law enforcement – still a painful and unresolved chapter in American history."

Romo on Mexican Revolution Anniversary

David D. Romo is quoted in a KVIA news story about the anniversary of the Mexican Revolution. See/read it now.

Tabuenca on Femicides and Cd. Juarez Violence

Check out Femicide and Violence in Cd. Juarez...A Never-ending Story by Socorro Tabuenca Cordoba in Cornell Universitiy's Latino Studies Program newsletter.

Santana's book nominated

A short blurb about the LBGT Rainbow Award. They have been posting short blurbs of books nominated. See a blurb on Miguel Santana's The Marien Revelation.

Dagoberto Gilb and Centro Victoria

Centro Victoria in Victoria, Texas, where Dagoberto Gilb is currently director, is featured in a story in the Victoria Advocate. See Centro Victoria Seeks to Incorporate More Mexican-American Literature into Texas Classrooms. Reginald Gibbons posted a piece on Northwestern's Center for the Writing Arts about "writing and work" and among those recommend is Dagoberto Gilb's "Romero's Shirt." READ MORE.

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

An Occasional Diversion Off the Chicano Literature Path: Graphic Novels and Jane Austen's Zombies

Here's an occasional vear off the Chicano(a) Literature path. In celebration of a Post-Apocalyptic genre finally portraying Chicanos (AMC's "Walking Dead," Episode 4: Vatos), here are some undead delights for you Thanksgiving break.

Regency England sees rife for a zombie story and if Jane Austen had a good editor, he probably would not have let these titles go to market. Austen, Bronte, Allcott, have all been target of this recent genre of gore classics. The lost first draft of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women before her editor got to it. Huck Finn relationship with his dead father. Lincoln saving a divided nation from vampire civil war. Queen Victoria making sure the sun never sets on the British Empire by fighting demons.

Paperback Quirk Books; Later Printing edition 2009
ISBN-10: 1594743347
Jane Austen (Author), Seth Grahame-Smith

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains." So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she's soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. 

What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield as Elizabeth wages war against hordes of flesh-eating undead. Can she vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you'd actually want to read. 

According to the author, the original text of the novel was well-suited for use as a zombie horror story:
You have this fiercely independent heroine, you have this dashing heroic gentleman, you have a militia camped out for seemingly no reason whatsoever nearby, and people are always walking here and there and taking carriage rides here and there . . . It was just ripe for gore and senseless violence. From my perspective anyway. READ MOREhttp://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-03-31/monsters-vs-jane-austen/2/

Paperback Quirk Books March 23, 2010
ISBN-10: 1594744548
Steve Hockensmith

Journey Back to Regency England—Land of the Undead!

Readers will witness the birth of a heroine in Dawn of the Dreadfuls a thrilling prequel set four years before the horrific events of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. As our story opens, the Bennet sisters are enjoying a peaceful life in the English country side. They idle away the days reading, gardening, and daydreaming about future husbands until a funeral at the local parish goes strangely and horribly awry.

Suddenly corpses are springing from the soft earth and only one family can stop them. As the bodies pile up, we watch Elizabeth Bennet evolve from a naive young teenager into a savage slayer of the undead. Along the way, two men vie for her affections: Master Hawksworth is a powerful warrior who trains her to kill, while thoughtful Dr. Keckilpenny seeks to conquer the walking dead using science instead of strength. 

Will either man win the prize of Elizabeth's heart? Or will their hearts be feasted upon by hordes of marauding zombies? Complete with romance, action, comedy, and an army of shambling corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls will have Jane Austen rolling in her grave and just might inspire her to crawl out of it!

Quirk Books; Original edition 2009)
ISBN-10: 1594744424
Jane Austen (Author), Ben H. Winters

From the publisher of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies comes a new tale of romance, heartbreak, and tentacled mayhem.

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters expands the original text of the beloved Jane Austen novel with all-new scenes of giant lobsters, rampaging octopi, two-headed sea serpents, and other biological monstrosities. 

As our story opens, the Dashwood sisters are evicted from their childhood home and sent to live on a mysterious island full of savage creatures and dark secrets. 

While sensible Elinor falls in love with Edward Ferrars, her romantic sister Marianne is courted by both the handsome Willoughby and the hideous man-monster Colonel Brandon. 

Can the Dashwood sisters triumph over meddlesome matriarchs and unscrupulous rogues to find true love? Or will they fall prey to the tentacles that are forever snapping at their heels? 

This masterful portrait of Regency England blends Jane Austen’s biting social commentary with ultraviolent depictions of sea monsters biting. It’s survival of the fittest — and only the swiftest swimmers will find true love!

(Quirk Classic) Paperback Quirk Books (June 8, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1594744602
Ben H. Winters (Author), Leo Tolstoy (Author)

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters co-author Ben H. Winters is back with an all-new collaborator, legendary Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy, and the result is Android Karenina an enhanced edition of the classic love story set in a dystopian world of robots, cyborgs, and interstellar space travel.

As in the original novel, our story follows two relationships: the tragic adulterous romance of Anna Karenina and Count Alexei Vronsky, and the much more hopeful marriage of Konstantin Levin and Kitty Shcherbatskaya.These four, yearning for true love, live in a steampunk-inspired 19th century of mechanical butlers, extraterrestrial-worshiping cults, and airborne debutante balls. 

Their passions alone would be enough to consume them-but when a secret cabal of radical scientific revolutionaries launches an attack on Russian high society's high-tech lifestyle, our heroes must fight back with all their courage, all their gadgets, and all the power of a sleek new cyborg model like nothing the world has ever seen."

Filled with the same blend of romance, drama, and fantasy that made the first two Quirk Classics New York Times best sellers, Android Karenina brings this celebrated series into the exciting world of science fiction.

Paperback Gallery; Original edition April 13, 2010
ISBN-10: 1439191182
Charlotte Bronte (Author), Sherri Browning Erwin

A timeless tale of love,  devotion . . . and the undead.

 Jane Slayre, our plucky demon-slaying heroine, a courageous orphan who spurns the detestable vampyre kin who raised her, sets out on the advice of her ghostly uncle to hone her skills as the fearless slayer she's meant to be. 
When she takes a job as a governess at a country estate, she falls head-over-heels for her new master, Mr. Rochester, only to discover he's hiding a violent werewolf in the attic--in the form of his first wife. Can a menagerie of bloodthirsty, flesh-eating, savage creatures-of-the-night keep a swashbuckling nineteenth-century lady from the gentleman she intends to marry? Vampyres, zombies, and werewolves transform Charlotte Brontë's unforgettable masterpiece into an eerie paranormal adventure that will delight and terrify.
*Featuring a Gallery Books Readers Guide

Paperback HarperTeen; 1 edition May 4, 2010
ISBN-10: 0061976253
Louisa May Alcott (Author), Lynn Messina(Author)

"Christmas wont be Christmas without any corpses." 

The dear, sweet March sisters are back, and Marmee has told them to be good little women. Good little vampire women, that is. That's right: Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy have grown up since you last read their tale, and now they have (much) longer lives and (much) more ravenous appetites.

Marmee has taught them well, and so they live by an unprecedented moral code of abstinence...from human blood. Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy must learn to get along with one another, help make society a better place, and avoid the vampire hunters who pose a constant threat to their existence. Plus, Laurie is dying to become a part of the March family, at any cost. 

Some things never change.

This horrifying — and hilarious — retelling of a timeless American classic will leave readers craving the bloodthirsty drama on each and every page.

Paperback Del Rey May 4, 2010
ISBN-10: 0345522605
Louisa May Alcott (Author), Porter Grand (Author)

A literary landmark — the original, suppressed draft of the classic novel!

Little Women is a timeless classic. But Louisa May Alcott’s first draft — before her editor sunk his teeth into it — was even better. Now the original text has at last been exhumed. In this uncensored version, the March girls learn some biting lessons, transforming from wild girls into little women — just as their friends and neighbors transform into vicious, bloodthirsty werewolves!

Here are tomboy Jo, quiet Beth, ladylike Amy, and good-hearted Meg, plus lovable neighbor Laurie Laurence, now doomed to prowl the night on all fours, maiming and devouring the locals. As the Civil War rages, the girls learn the value of being kind, the merits of patience and grace, and the benefits of knowing a werewolf who can disembowel your teacher.

By turns heartwarming and blood-curdling, this rejuvenated classic will be cherished and treasured by those who love a lesson in virtue almost as much as they enjoy a good old-fashioned dismemberment.

Includes the original letter from Alcott’s editor, telling her not to even think about it!

Paperback Eos; 1 edition January 26, 2010
ISBN-10: 0061976016
A. E. Moorat (Author)

There were many staff at Kensington Palace, fulfilling many roles; a man who was employed to catch rats, another whose job it was to sweep the chimneys. That there was someone expected to hunt demons did not shock the new Queen; that it was to be her was something of a surprise.

London, 1838. Queen Victoria is crowned; she receives the orb, the scepter, and an arsenal of bloodstained weaponry. If Britain is about to become the greatest power of the age, there’s the small matter of the undead to take care of first. Demons stalk the crown, and political ambitions have unleashed ravening hordes of zombies even within the nobility itself.
But rather than dreams of demon hunting, Queen Victoria’s thoughts are occupied by Prince Albert. Can she dedicate her life to saving her country when her heart belongs elsewhere? With lashings of glistening entrails, decapitations, zombies, and foul demons, this masterly new portrait will give a fresh understanding of a remarkable woman, a legendary monarch, and quite possibly the best demon hunter the world has ever seen.

In another incarnation as a more serious (though still satirical) author, A. E. MOORAT has won critical acclaim and been shortlisted for awards. Here, however, he was chained in the dungeon, fed tea and ghost stories, and kept busy writing the adventures of Queen Victoria, Demon Hunter.

Paperback Curiosities 2009
ISBN-10: 1607620472
Jane Austen (Author), Vera Nazarian

 Spinsterhood or Mummification!

Ancient Egypt infiltrates Regency England in this elegant, hilarious, witty, insane, and unexpectedly romantic monster parody of Jane Austen's classic novel.

Our gentle yet indomitable heroine Fanny Price must hold steadfast not only against the seductive charms of Henry Crawford but also an Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh!

Meanwhile, the indubitably handsome and kind hero Edmund attempts Exorcisms... Miss Crawford vamps out... Aunt Norris channels her inner werewolf... The Mummy-mesmerized Lady Bertram collects Egyptian artifacts...
There can be no doubt that Mansfield Park has become a battleground for the forces of Ancient Evil and Regency True Love!

Gentle Reader -- this Delightful Edition includes Scholarly Footnotes and Appendices.

Illustrated Hardcover Grand Central Publishing; 1st edition March 2, 2010
ISBN-10: 0446563080
Seth Grahame-Smith

Indiana, 1818. Moonlight falls through the dense woods that surround a one-room cabin, where a nine-year-old Abraham Lincoln kneels at his suffering mother's bedside. She's been stricken with something the old-timers call "Milk Sickness."

"My baby boy..." she whispers before dying.

Only later will the grieving Abe learn that his mother's fatal affliction was actually the work of a vampire.

When the truth becomes known to young Lincoln, he writes in his journal, "henceforth my life shall be one of rigorous study and devotion. I shall become a master of mind and body. And this mastery shall have but one purpose..." Gifted with his legendary height, strength, and skill with an ax, Abe sets out on a path of vengeance that will lead him all the way to the White House.

While Abraham Lincoln is widely lauded for saving a Union and freeing millions of slaves, his valiant fight against the forces of the undead has remained in the shadows for hundreds of years. That is, until Seth Grahame-Smith stumbled upon The Secret Journal of Abraham Lincoln, and became the first living person to lay eyes on it in more than 140 years.

Using the journal as his guide and writing in the grand biographical style of Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough, Seth has reconstructed the true life story of our greatest president for the first time-all while revealing the hidden history behind the Civil War and uncovering the role vampires played in the birth, growth, and near-death of our nation..

Paperback Kensington September 1, 2010
ISBN-10: 0758254083
Sarah Gray (Author)

When a young orphan named Heathcliff is brought to Wuthering Heights by the manor's owner, Mr. Earnshaw, rumors abound. 

Yet the truth is more complicated than anyone could guess. Heathcliff's mother was a member of a gypsy band that roamed the English countryside, slaying vampires to keep citizens safe. But his father was a vampire. 
Now, even as Heathcliff gallantly fights the monsters who roam the moors in order to protect beautiful, spirited Catherine Earnshaw, he is torn by compassion for his victims - and by his own dark thirst. Though Catherine loves Heathcliff, she fears the vampire in him, and is tempted by the privileged lifestyle their neighbors, the Lintons, enjoy. 

Forced to choose between wealthy, refined Edgar Linton and the brooding, increasingly dangerous Heathcliff, she makes a fateful decision. And soon Heathcliff, too, must choose - between his hunger, and the woman he will love for all eternity...

Paperback Coscom Entertainment 2009
ISBN-10: 1926712099
Jane Austen (Author), Adam Rann (Author) 

Beware the howls in the darkness and the light of the full moon. As the ever headstrong Ms. Emma Woodhouse schemes and plots as matchmaker, a dark and deadly terror descends upon Highbury. 

A series of bestial murders fills the residents with fear as the ever mysterious Mr. Knightley leads a secret life, unknown to all, combating evils not of this Earth. Carnage and destruction reign throughout the land, and though the residents of Highbury try to attend to day-to-day matters as civilly as possible, each cannot help but wonder what lurks in the shadows and if it'll be coming for them next.

Paperback Coscom Entertainment 2009
ISBN-10: 1926712234 
Paul A. Freeman (Author)

Medieval civilization was under threat from the undead. When lion-hearted Richard ruled the roost Of England, he decided that to boost His regal reputation he should mount A war to wrest from Turkish men the fount Of Christendom; yet in that desert land A zombie plague emerged from ’midst the sand. 

A necromancer’s alchemistic spell Reanimated corpses bound for Hell (And even bound for Heaven’s pearly gate). Soon after ’twas apparent that the fate Of all on Earth -- the evil and the good -- Was in the hands of Robin of the Hood Whose outlaw men, along with Friar Tuck, Against rampaging hordes of zombies struck. They fought to save the likes of you and I, Not caring that one slip might make them die. Their tale lies here, within this humble book-- I pray you’ll spare the time to take a look.

Paperback Coscom Entertainment 2009
ISBN-10: 192671217X
L. Frank Baum (Author), Ryan C. Thomas

One day, on a peaceful farm in Kansas, a tornado appeared. The storm raged and ripped the house from the ground. Inside sat a little girl named Dorothy and her dog Toto. The house spun. The winds roared. The tornado showed no mercy, until . . . The house landed in a strange and magical land called Oz. 

But that's where the fairytale ends and the nightmare begins. The Wicked Witch of the West has cast a spell on the Land of Oz, a spell that brings the dead back to life. Only the Great Wizard in the Emerald City can stop this curse, but he has never been seen. 

It's up to Dorothy, Toto, the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion and the Tin Woodman to journey through this dangerous land of hungry undead and savage monsters and find him in the hopes of bringing life back to Oz. Come join hands with them as they travel down the Yellow Brick Road and see if you can make it to the Emerald City . . . alive.

Paperback Ballantine Books; Original edition 2009
ISBN-10: 0345513657
Michael Thomas Ford

Ford's (Last Summer) fang-tastic satire of the Jane Austen craze catches up with Elizabeth Jane Fairfax, the undead 233-year-old author and owner of an upstate New York book store.
She's disgusted by the Pride and Prejudice knockoffs that fly out of her store (poor Jane hasn't seen a royalty check in almost 200 years), and her last manuscript's been rejected by 116 publishers.

Things start to look up when she finally gets a deal for the book, but two problems arise as she's promoting Constance: Lord Byron, who turned Jane, wants her back; and Violet Grey, a vitriolic Brontë blogger, accuses Jane of stealing Charlotte Brontë's last unsold manuscript. Ford's Jane is a very fun and funny heroine to root for as she endures the indignities of publishing and bookselling, fends off danger and (perhaps) finds love. Her hilarious smack downs with Violet hint of more madness to come in this first of a series. (Jan.)

Paperback Coscom Entertainment July 10, 2009
ISBN-10: 1897217978 
Mark Twain (Author), W. Bill Czolgosz 

Free at last! Free at last! This ain't your grandfather's Huckleberry Finn. It's nineteenth century America and a mutant strain of tuberculosis is bringing its victims back from the dead. Sometimes they come back docile, and other times vicious. 

The vicious ones are sent back to Hell, but the docile ones are put to work as servants and laborers. With so many zombies on the market, the slave trade is nonexistant. The black man is at liberty, and human bondage is no more. 

Young Huckleberry Finn has grown up in a world that shuns the N-word, with its scornful eye set on a new class of shambling, putrid sub-humans: The Baggers. 
When his abusive father comes back into his life, Huck flees down the river with Bagger Jim, seeking a life of perfect freedom. When the pox mutates once again, causing even the tamest of baggers to become bloodthirsty monsters, the boy Finn is forced to question his relationship with his dearest, deadest friend. 

In this revised take on history and classic literature, the modern age is ending before it ever begins. Huckleberry Finn will inherit a world of horror and death, and he knows the mighty Mississippi might be the only way out...

Paperback Coscom Entertainment 2009
ISBN-10: 1926712293
Lewis Carroll (Author), Nickolas Cook (Author)

Can Alice escape Zombieland before the Dead Red Queen catches up to her? When little Alice falls asleep, she finds herself in an undead nightmare of rotting flesh and insanity. Following a talking rat, she ventures further into this land of zombies and monsters. 
There's also something else troubling poor Alice: her skin is rotting and her hair is falling out. She's cold and there's the haunting feeling that if she remains in Zombieland any longer, she might never leave and forever be caught between life and death. Have a seat at the table for the Tea Party of your life and explore the wondrous adventure that is Zombieland. 

Graphic Novels for Literary Buffs and Portrayals of Jews in Tolkein and Dickens

I recently tackled the Children of Hurin by J.R.R. Tolkein, one of the many book edited by his son on manuscripts left behind by his father. I'd say one of Tolkien's best stories of dragons, elves, youthful rebellion, incest, and more. 

As I was reading about the dwarf character Mim, I was reminded of some literary criticism on Tolkein in how he model his dwarves after the stereotypical qualities of Europen Jews, sometimes, a Shylockian portrayal dwarves.
"The dwarves of course are quite obviously, wouldn't you say that in many ways they remind you of the Jews?" says J.R.R. Tolkein in BBC interview in 1971, "Their words are Semitic, obviously, constructed to be Semitic." Now, I don't want to take the interview out of context, as Tolkien was a linguist and based his dwarvish language on some Semitic aspects. 

Furthermore, according to some scholars, his portrayal of dwarves changed over time, and by the time The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings were published, you have a positive portrayals. But stereotypical aspect of greed, secretiveness, among other aspect persist. Tolkien also admits basing dwarves on other aspect of Jewish culture including the diaspora, dispossession of homeland and, non-assimilation, and even, somewhat, the Jewish calender.

As Shylock has gained more sympathetic portrayals by actors over the centuries, Charles Dicken's Fagin (Oliver Twist) has been re-visioned, not only by the author himself in subsequent revision of Oliver Twist, and after Dicken's became friends with a Jewish family, but also by graphic novelist Will Eisner.

Doubleday; 1 edition 2003
ISBN-10: 0385510098 Paperback
Will Eisner

From his early newspaper comics to the sophisticated graphic novels he produces today, Will Eisner has been a pioneering force in comics for more than sixty years. Ron Goulart, writing in Book World, declared, “A shrewd, thoughtful man, Eisner has always had a knack for deftly combining dialogue and images to tell his story,” and fellow graphic novelist Alan Moore simply said, “Eisner is the single person most responsible for giving comics its BRAINS.” 

And Amazon.com, which called him "the Elvis of comics," said, "It's fair to say that Eisner invented modern comic art."

In Fagin the Jews, Eisner proves himself to be not only a master of comic storytelling, but also an incisive literary and social critic. This project was first conceived as an introduction to a pictorial adaptation of Oliver Twist, but as he learned more about the history of Dickens-era Jewish life in London, Eisner uncovered intriguing material that led him to create this new work. 

In the course of his research, Eisner came to believe that Dickens had not intended to defame Jews in his famous depiction. By referring to Fagin as “the Jew” throughout the book, however, he had perpetuated the common prejudice; his fictional creation imbedded itself in the public’s imagination as the classic profile of a Jew. 

In his award-winning style, Eisner recasts the notorious villain as a complex and troubled antihero and gives him the opportunity to tell his tale in his own words. 

Depicting Fagin’s choices and actions within a historical context, Eisner captures the details of life in London’s Ashkenazi community and brilliantly re-creates the social milieu of Dickensian England.

Eisner's fresh, compelling look at prejudice, poverty, and anti-Semitism lends an extraordinary richness to his artwork, ever evocative and complex. Like the modern classics Maus and The Jew of New York, FAGIN THE JEW blends image and prose in an unforgettable exploration of history. 

Will Eisner (Author), Umberto Eco (Introduction)

A work more disturbing than fiction from "the father of graphic novels" (New York Times). "The ultimate illustration of how absurdly comical and cancerous The Protocols has been to mankind."—Thane Rosenbaum, Los Angeles Times Book Review

The Plot, which examines the astonishing conspiracy and the fabrication of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, has become a worldwide phenomenon since its hardcover publication, taught in classrooms around the globe.

Purported to be the actual blueprints by Jewish leaders to take over the world, the Protocols, first published in 1902, have become gospel truth to international millions. Presenting a pageant of historical figures from nineteenth-century Russia to today's ideologues, including Tsar Nicholas II, Henry Ford, and Adolf Hitler, Will Eisner unravels and dispels one of the most devastating hoaxes of the twentieth century.
Will Eisner 

Publisher: America's Best Comics; 1st edition 2002
ISBN-10: 1563898586
Alan Moore

Now, a stunning coup de grace is delivered with this masterful pairing of Victorian adventure fiction's greatest characters and the old war-horse of the super-group. With the stunning The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, it would be no exaggeration to say that Alan Moore has produced a near-perfect piece of adventure fiction that is clever, literate, rich with excitement and hard to put down.
It's 1898 and at the behest of M, the mysterious head of the secret Service, Campion Bond is dispatched to procure the services of Miss Mina Murray (nee Harker), adventurer Allan Quartermain, "Science-Pirate" Captain Nemo, Henry Jekyll (and his monstrous alter ego) and Hawley Griffin (a.k.a. the Invisible Man).

Together, they must combat an insidious threat that will decide supremacy of the London skies, but their success may unleash a far greater threat. With no shortage of action, Moore and O' Neill sustain a high level of suspense, intrigue, mystery and terrific wit that all contribute to an indispensable read. O'Neill's art, so memorable in Marshal Law, produces a London filled with vivid, magnificent architecture and a malevolent atmosphere ripe with thrills and danger. An unmitigated triumph--pure and simple. --Danny Graydon

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